Saturday, July 2, 2022

Cabinet members discussed using 1MDB funds for their constituencies, ex-chief secretary tells court

Mohd Sidek Hassan says this was one of the reasons he believed that 1MDB was established as a political fund for BN.

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Former chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today he was of the opinion that 1MDB was established as a political fund for Barisan Nasional (BN) as the matter was discussed among Cabinet members.

Sidek, 71, during re-examination by senior deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram, said at one of the Cabinet meetings, ministers were even encouraged to propose how 1MDB funds could be used to finance projects in their constituencies.

When asked how he could conclude that the 1MDB funds were meant as a political fund for BN, Sidek said: “Because all of the (Cabinet) ministers are BN members.”

Sri Ram: Cabinet meetings shouldn’t be discussing politics, should they?

Sidek: I was a civil servant through and through. The government’s policy is the policy of the ruling party, whether it’s BN or other parties… a bloc or a coalition. So, it is quite difficult to differentiate the two (policies).

Yesterday, Sidek in his witness statement said that according to his understanding, the strategic investment company was set up as a political fund for BN, the then ruling party.

The 19th prosecution witness said this was why he had never asked former prime minister Najib Razak or any party in 1MDB about problems in the company.

Questioned by Sri Ram about whether Najib had ever disclosed his relationship with a man known as Jho Low during any of the Cabinet meetings, the witness said that he did not remember.

Najib, 68, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.

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